Steve and I are such computer geeks. Not only did we bring our laptops to the hospital to hop on their wifi during labor, Steve has already set up a baby blog and Emmy has her own Facebook account. We can’t help ourselves!
We named her Emeline Skye. Emeline was my grandmother’s middle name (and also HER grandmother’s first name). Skye comes from the Isle of Skye in Scotland, where Steve and I had an amazing trip during the first year of our relationship.
Childbirth was the most incredible, excruciating, humbling and surreal experience of my life. I went into labor just a couple hours after posting the latest belly picture on here. Ironically, I had just finished up every last bit of paperwork at work on that day. That night, I was wide awake until 3 am, but looking forward to being able to sleep in and go to the beach for the day.
Baby had other plans. Contractions started not long after I fell asleep. By 5 am they were strong and convincing enough for me to jump out of bed, thinking “this is it.” They came every 5-6 minutes but I still convinced that they would stop as soon as I woke Steve up. They didn’t stop however and when we called, the doctor told us to come in.
Steve was giddy with excitement, honking the horn as we drove past our friends’ house up the road at 6:30 on a beautiful sunny August morning. I felt very calm, still not quite believing it was really happening. When we got to the hospital, I was dilated 5 cm. Excellent, this should be quick! Thank god I didn’t know what was in store for me.
Contractions continued every 4-5 minutes for the next 16 hours, becoming more and more intense as time passed. I watched the second hand on the clock, I visualized a dial to turn down the pain levels, I visualized water rushing in and out, lake scenes, garden scenes. I concentrated on breathing. I fell asleep in the four minutes in between contractions. I got the labor shakes and shook violently for minutes at a time. There was a brief scare when the baby’s heart rate seemed high, but then it went back to normal. Time passed in a surreal haze. Time wasn’t really time.
By the 16th hour, we decided to break the water, as it hadn’t broken yet. Contractions were getting severe at that point, and went up another level when the water broke. At this point, when I closed my eyes, all I saw was fear. It hurts too much. I can’t take it anymore. If it hurts this much now, what will it be like later? What will the last part be like? I can’t do it anymore!! Then another mind blowing contraction would hit and I wasn’t centered anymore. I had difficulty even believing that a baby was even going to come of this. I began to bring up getting an epidural. We debated this for a while and I tried getting in the bath again for a while, then standing through contractions while hanging off Steve.
My Mom arrived, pretty much expecting the baby to already be born. She got to stay, be my support, see her granddaughter be born and also got some great pictures, which was really cool.
By the time the epidural guy arrived, I was fervently hoping the needle would be in before I had to withstand another contraction. When that epidural hit, there has never been such a marvelous drug, ever. The pain was gone, but I still felt the pressure of the contractions, which made me feel more connected to the process than I thought I would be with an epidural. I felt so much better not being blinded by pain and fear anymore. I had hoped to do it without fear, as in my previous entry, and maybe I would have if I hadn’t been worn down by the hours. I’m not sure.
By the time I was ready to push, the room was suddenly filled with doctors and nurses. I was gung ho. Yay, pushing time. This felt like a good workout, the best sporting event ever. I pushed…and pushed… nurses left as their shifts ended and new nurses took over…I pushed…and pushed…for three hours. “There’s meconium in the fluid,” a nurse said.
“That means a team of people in yellow jackets will come in when the baby is born, just to make sure everything is ok,” the doctor explained to me. What? Yellow jackets? What does that mean? What could go wrong? Oh god, what if the baby is not ok?
“Three hours is the maximum pushing time,” the doctor said. “You’re getting up there. We may need to have some come in and give a second opinion.” The baby was further down but stuck, and the epidural couldn’t do anything about the pain at this part. The unspoken word hanging in the room was c-section. I could feel the haze of fear clouding over everything, while I gripped Steve’s hand to keep calm. Twenty one hours of labor only to get cut open? Why wasn’t she coming out? Maybe I’ll be the only woman in history to just NOT GIVE BIRTH, EVER. The heart monitor thing had to be inserted and screwed on the baby’s head, feeling like another notch in the march toward a potential crisis.
I went into labor around 3:30 am on the 14th and it was now 12:30 am on the 15th. The specialist had come into the room. This felt like the death knell. I lay back, closed my eyes, looked at the cloudy tendrils of fear head on. This was no time to fuck around and be afraid anymore. I mustered up every last ounce of strength and courage I had and thought, a mighty roar in my head, I AM GETTING THIS BABY OUT. Then I pushed as if my life depended on it. Emeline Skye was born within minutes. Suddenly I was looking into her blue, beautiful face and big waxy wrinkled hands waving and she was for real. It has been a week and I can’t get enough of looking at her.
The others thought the specialist might have done something to make her come out but I’m not sure. What she did felt similar to what the others did. What felt different was finding my resolve to overcome the fear. Wow, is she ever worth it.
Aug 22nd 2009Emeline & pregnancy